Rename Noqum Mount: intellectuals [Archives:2005/862/Last Page]

July 25 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
Dr. Abdulaziz al-Maqaleh, the President's Cultural Advisor, has suggested changing the name of Noqum Mountain into Ghayman Mountain.

Dr. Al-Maqaleh and Abdul-Karim al-Khamisi said the name does not “fit one of the most important Yemeni mountains.” They said the Mountain's name should not continue to be associated with “niqmah”, the Arabic word for “wrath”.

“There is some sort of consensus in the literary and intellectual community that the name 'Noqum' does not suit as proud a mountain as this, which stands on the eastern side of Sana'a, even if the name was 30 million years old,” added Dr. Al-Maqaleh, who also runs the Yemeni Center for Research and Studies. “Sana'a itself, in which many generations have lived, has had its name changed four times: Sam City, Azal, Dhamar, San'an.”

Historians confirm that old Ethiopians who occupied Yemen and built a Kaaba in Sana'a, gave the Mountain its name which meant “mountain” in their language. An historian said that, on their way to invade the real Kaaba, they passed by this mountain and cried “noqum,” meaning “mountain”.

Dr. Al- Maqaleh stated that renaming the mountain is in the public interest: “Many things in our country need to be reconsidered, to avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation.”

On the other hand, there have recently been calls for making nearby mountains and heights available for picnics and walking for tourists instead of limiting them to military camps around which signs read “Don't approach. Military area.”

It is interesting to note that the plans drawn up for Sana'a tower planned to situate it at the bottom of one of the mountains. However, the concerned sides are still trying to negotiate which mountain is to be relinquished by military commanders at the project's expense.

Many of the key heights around the city are being distributed to military commanders to build their palaces while the city's residents don't find enough green spots and open areas for picnicking and recreation. The resulting lack of recreational areas means some Sana'a residents are being forced out to valleys far away from the city to escape noise and find fresh air.